How to Attract Inbound Client Leads and Win Engaged Search Assignments, with Skip Freeman, Ep #128

Want to attract inbound client leads and convert them into engaged search assignments, where the client pays part of the fee up front?

Then you’ll love my interview with Skip Freeman, founder of Smart Buildings Talent. Skip shared that he’s currently working on 13 engaged searches simultaneously at 25% fees. Of those 13 searches, 12 of them were inbound leads meaning the client approached Skip instead of the other way around.

Skip reveals some of his most effective tactics and strategies, including a detailed masterclass on how to be “prominent and visible” in your chosen niche. You’ll also hear his fascinating story of resilience – from building a business, overcoming prostate cancer, and restarting from the ground up.

Skip is the Founder and President of Smart Buildings Talent, specializing in Buildings Automation and Smart Industry. Skip graduated from the United States Military Academy, West Point, in 1976, with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and has almost 20 years of experience as a recruitment business owner.

Episode Outline and Highlights

  • [2:22] Skip shares how he became a recruiter and the latest accomplishments of Smart Buildings Talent
  • [9:24] How to become a specialist and find a super-focused niche.
  • [15:06] Global Acquisition: Key factors that made Skip’s firm attractive to a global brand. 
  • [22:09] Steps to becoming prominent and visible in your chosen niche. 
  • [36:38] Skip’s tips for consistently creating and posting content on LinkedIn.
  • [44:49] The importance of systems – Skip reveals his “sequence of recruitment operations.”
  • [55:00] Skip’s process for closing engaged searches including the ingredients of a winning proposal.

Finding a Super-Focused Niche

A recent achievement that Skip shared is when a global IT consulting and contract staffing firm, Emerge360, reached out to acquire his brand, Smart Building Talent. This is an outstanding accomplishment for a business of its size – and what made it possible are three things: 

  • Finding a critical niche
  • Having a systematic approach 
  • Building a brand

On the topic of finding a critical niche, Skip’s background in mechanical engineering served as a foundation to look at focusing on automation and discovering the talent behind this industry. He then focused on his mastery in this specialty which was a critical game-changer in his business. Skip also revealed what made him prominent and visible in his chosen niche.

Your Recruitment “Sequence of Operations”

Another topic that Skip shared is the system he discovered, which he refers to as his sequence of recruitment operations. “A system is going to be a consistent process that everybody understands, and you have the tools as well as needed. Every time you get a job order, it enters into the system,” is how he describes it. 

Inspired by Mike Pietrack and Scott Adams, you will hear his four major steps to the job order fulfilment process:

  • Find 
  • Attract
  • Qualify
  • Land

How to Be Prominent and Visible in Your Chosen Niche

Choosing the niche and area of specialisation is the first step, but how do you become prominent and visible in your chosen niche? How do you generate inbound leads? Skip shared how he does it. From his experience, he explained how he attends trade shows, creates articles and content specifically for his industry, and how he has become a “community leader” on LinkedIn. You will hear how to use polls to your advantage and how to generate inbound leads from LinkedIn.

Our Sponsors

This podcast is proudly sponsored by i-intro and Recruitment Entrepreneur.

i-intro® is an end-to-end retained recruitment platform. Our technology and methodology allow recruiters to differentiate themselves from the competition, win more retained business, bigger fees and increase their billings. Be sure to mention Mark Whitby or The Resilient Recruiter for a 25% discount. Book your free, no-obligation consultation here: www.recruitmentcoach.com/retained

We’re excited to announce that Recruitment Entrepreneur will be sponsoring the podcast! If you’ve dreamed of starting up or scaling up and exiting your recruitment business, this is your chance. James Caan and his team at Recruitment Entrepreneur are actively seeking ambitious recruiters who they can invest in. Start a conversation here: https://www.recruitmentcoach.com/vc

Skip Freeman Bio and Contact Info

Skip Freeman graduated from the United States Military Academy, West Point, in 1976, with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. He served in the US Army Corps of Engineers, more specifically the Combat Engineers, after which he moved into industry as a chemical sales rep for a major speciality chemical company.  

He progressed from field sales into sales management. As a Sales Manager, Skip had started using one particular recruiter for all of his hiring needs. That relationship began with none other than an MPC marketing call. And while that candidate wasn’t hired, many were over the next several years.

Then Skip’s firm was purchased. To stay with the company, he was going to have to relocate. That not being an option due to family reasons, he called his recruiter this time saying, “I don’t need a candidate, I’m going to need a job.” After some contemplation, his recruiter said, “Have you ever thought about running your own business? Skip said, “Tell me more…” and that’s how Skip’s recruiting career began.

With some of Skip’s recruitment work helping to hire chemists and chemical engineers, he was contacted by an agency in Washington, DC, which led to an interesting parallel journey. in which Skip recruited for the CIA for 4-years.

In 2013, he started building a recruiting firm and his wife joined him in the business. His firm reached a size of 8 people when he suffered a personal setback, prostate cancer, which, more or less, took him out of the game for 3-years. One by one everyone in the firm dwindled away or needed to be fired until it was just Skip again along with his wife.

Since then he’s completely rebuilt his business as the founder and president of Smart Buildings Talent, focused on buildings automation and smart industry. Today he is back with an exciting story that illustrates perseverance, discipline, and a will to win.

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